Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card Review
A Marriott Rewards card makes a lot of sense for those who travel a lot. The benefits can add up quickly!
How often do you travel for business? How many of those nights do you have to pay out of pocket? Are you taking full advantage of those nights? Most people have rewards cards, but don't use them as diligently as they should. A rushed check-in might make it seem easier to skip the rewards, but that's several hundred dollars not going towards your credit. Over time, these stays and add up quickly — and everyone you don't receive rewards for is more money wasted. But even if you've never used a hotel rewards card before, the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card is a great starting point. It can help you learn to use your rewards properly and how to get the most out of each night.
Check out our review to find out if it's right for you.
One Card to Rule Them All
Marriott offers one primary credit card: the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card. While there is a business version of the card, the rewards are almost the same and it doesn't benefit the average consumer—you—nearly as much.
That said, someone who only takes vacations once per year won't receive many benefits from owning this card. The targeted group for this card is definitely people that travel for business on a regular or semi-regular basis. Here's why: the card has an $85 annual fee. At their lowest redemption value, Marriott Rewards points are worth about $0.008 per point. That means you need to earn a minimum of 10,625 points per year to break even on your initial investment before the card begins to benefit you.
The Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card is issued through J.P. Morgan & Chase Bank.
As with any credit card, the Marriott Hotel Rewards Card has various fees that come with usage. Here are the main ones you need to know about.
- Annual fee of $85
- APR and balance transfer rate of 16.74% to 23.74%
- Cash advance APR of 25.74%
- $5 or 5% fee on each balance transfer, whichever is greater
- Minimum late payment fee of $15
- Returned payment fee of up to $37
These rates are based on the Prime Rate as of March 2017. Your personal creditworthiness plays a role in determining the APR, so the higher your credit rating the lower potential APR you qualify for. Another interesting thing to note is the late payment fee; if you owe less than $100, your late payment fee is only $15. However, if you owe between $100 and $250, your late payment fee is $27. If you owe more than $250, the late payment fee is a set $37.
The part you've been waiting for — the rewards. For frequent travelers, the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card has one of the beneficial rewards schemes we've ever seen. It's easy to see why it's popular among cardholders. Check it out.
- 5x points per $1 spent at more than 5,700 participating Marriott Rewards and SPG hotels
- 2x points per $1 spent on airline tickets purchased directly via the airline, car rental agencies, and restaurants,
- 1x points per $1 spent anywhere else
- Points never expire as long as the card is used once every 24 months
- 15 free credits toward Elite status after account approval and every year on account anniversary
- 1 Elite credit after every $3,000 spent on purchases
- 80,000 bonus points if you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months of the account opening
- 1 free night every year after your account anniversary date
- 7,500 bonus points when you add your first authorized user and make a purchase within 3 months of the account opening
When you consider there is no foreign transaction fee either, the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card becomes one of the flagship reward cards for frequent travelers.
The most common usage for points are free nights. Here's what your points equate to in terms of hotel categories and free nights.
- In a category 1 hotel, a free night is 7,500 points.
- In a category 2 hotel, a free night is 10,000 points.
- In a category 3 hotel, a free night is 15,000 points.
- In a category 4 hotel, a free night is 20,000 points.
- In a category 5 hotel, a free night is 25,000 points.
- In a category 6 hotel, a free night is 30,000 points.
- In a category 7 hotel, a free night is 35,000 points.
- In a category 8 hotel, a free night is 40,000 points.
- In a category 9 hotel, a free night is 45,000 points.
And remember that every $3,000 you spend on the card gains you one point toward Elite credit. As a rewards member, you gain benefits that a non-rewards member would not. However, there are also additional benefits that come when you reach Silver Elite, Gold Elite, or Platinum Elite status. Stay 10 nights or more and reach Silver Elite status (although 15 free credits you receive as a cardholder each year will automatically put you into Silver Elite status.) Stay 50 nights or more to reach Gold Elite status, and stay 75 nights or more to reach Platinum Elite status.
As a Platinum Elite member, you receive all available member benefits:
- A choice between Marriott Rewards points or Frequent Flyer miles per dollar spent
- Elite night credit earned on paid and redemption stays
- Additional bonus points
- Always receive the lowest rates when booking direct
- Reward points earned for meetings and special events
- No holiday or blackout dates
- Guarantee of your room type
- 48-hour guaranteed availability of room
- Complimentary room upgrade
- Gifts upon your arrival
- Free and faster internet in the room
- Late checkout
- Lounge access
You can also receive a lifetime member status: 250 nights and 1.2 million points for Silver, 500 nights and 1.6 million points for Gold, and 750 nights and 2 million points for Platinum.
The credit limit on the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card will depend on your credit score and a host of other factors. However, numerous users report higher than expected credit limits with the average limit falling around $5,000 with the potential for future increase.
How to Apply
If this card sounds good to you already, here's what you need to do to apply.
Go to the application page and fill in the form. While the only required fields are the first and last name, mailing address 1, city, state, and zip code, it's a good idea to fill in the rest of the fields — particularly if you're already a Marriott member. The next page will ask you to select your type of residence (whether you rent, own, or other), your gross annual income, your source of income, and your employer. You'll also need to choose whether you have a checking account, savings account, or both.
The page after will ask you security questions and have you set up your account before you review all of the information on the final page.
Like most rewards cards, the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card requires applicants to have an Excellent (read: 720 or higher) credit score in order to qualify. Applications must also be US residents with a valid permanent home address within the 50 US states or the District of Columbia. Despite the international application of this card, it is not available internationally.
How to Manage Your Online Account
You can access your online account using your email, rewards number, or your Facebook account. Once you've registered as a rewards member, you'll need to create your online account in order to keep an eye on your points and manage any special offers that may be available to you. Once you log in, you'll have access to all of the member benefits.
Waiting for the Card
One of the hardest things about applying for a credit card is waiting for it to arrive once you've been approved. After all, you're likely ready to start enjoying the benefits right away. Here's the good news: the card will usually arrive in 7 to 10 business days after approval. The bad news is that this isn't set in stone and may vary from person to person; the above estimate is only an average.
If you want to check the status of the decision on your application, you can log into the website or call the customer service number. In many cases, you will receive an instant decision on whether or not you are approved.
As with most credit cards, the primary payment option will be through your bank account. You will make a balance transfer from a valid, eligible account to pay your bill. In some cases, money orders might also be accepted.
Making a late payment will result in penalties, interested, and if you don't pay within 30 days of the original payment date, a hit to your credit. The maximum possible late fee is $37 plus your outstanding balance and any additional interest payments.
To make a payment, access your account via the website, the mobile app, or call the number listed on the back of your card.
Benefits of the Marriott Card
- 80,000 points for spending at least $3,000 within three months of signing up for the card
- There is always some rewards
- Free night for your account anniversary
- No foreign transaction fees
- EMV technology
- Redeemable at any Marriott location
- 24/7 concierge service
Drawbacks of the Marriott Card
- Low non-Marriott rewards
- Not ideal for those who do not want to be restricted to a single hotel chain
If you're looking for a second opinion on the card, the best thing to do is check out what other customers have to say. Here are a few from around the web.
"The free night (Category 1-5) annually more than pays for the annual fee — a NO-BRAINER!"
"Chase Bank/Credit Card services do not live up to its advertised incentives. I requested and was granted a Marriott rewards credit card which said if I made $3000.00 in purchases I would be awarded 80,000. Well after I did so they said I did not sign up for that card. It is the same card with the application to get those same points, has my rewards number attached, etc. This is not new for Chase. They scammed me once before for a couple airline ticket incentives as well but I did not make a complaint. I want everyone to know they are a fraudulent scheming bank of crooks!"
- V of Sicklerville, NJ
These are some of the most commonly asked questions about the Marriott credit card.
What can I use my Marriott credit card for?
You can use your Marriott credit card to make most any purchase. However, only eligible purchases give you the most points; most non-travel related purchases only equal one point per dollar spent.
Where can I use my Marriott card?
You can use your Marriott card anywhere you would use a regular credit card: at the grocery store, at dinner, to make purchases online, etc.
How long does it take Marriott to refund your card?
Depending on the circumstances surrounding the refund, it can be as little as seven days or as many as 30. The speed of a refund depends largely on the merchants involved, the circumstances, and the date on which the refund was issued.
How can I check my Marriott card balance?
Log into your Marriott account to view your nights earned, your balance, and other relevant information.
Can I withdraw money from Marriott credit card?
Yes, you can get a cash advance from your Marriott card. However, be aware this advance carries a 25.74% APR that can vary based on the Prime Rate.
Can I pay for my Marriott credit card with a debit card? Or Paypal?
All payments must be made via a bank transfer.
Can I pay off my bill through another credit card?
No, all payments must be made via a bank transfer.
Can I use my Marriott credit card without the card?
While in limited cases it might be possible to use the card without it being present, you should avoid doing so at all costs for security reasons. That said, if you have your Marriott Rewards number you should be able to earn rewards on your dollars spent.
How to add an authorized user to Marriott credit card?
You can add an authorized user through your Marriott account or over the phone. If you add a user and then make a purchase within the first three months of opening the account, you'll receive additional bonus points.
Which credit bureaus does Marriott report to?
The credit bureau Marriott reports to varies from state to state, and the company will often change up the specific bureau. Know that all three bureaus could receive reports.
How much in FICO scores do I need to be eligible?
The Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card needs an Excellent credit rating, which means you need a FICO score of 720 or higher.
How soon can I use my Marriott credit card once I receive it?
Once you receive your Marriott card in the mail and activate it, you can begin using it right away.
How to contact Marriott credit card services?
There is a phone number listed on the back of your Marriott card that you can get used to getting in touch with the customer service department. You can also call 1-800-338-5960 to reach Chase Cardmember services.
How can I change my information on my Marriott card?
Some information can be changed from your online account, while other information may require a call to the customer service department to be changed.
Can I increase the credit limit on Marriott credit card?
The credit limit can be increased, but only by Marriott. On-time payments, an increased credit score, and a variety of other positive behavior on your part can increase the chances of a higher credit limit.
How to report a stolen Marriott Card?
If your card is lost or stolen, contact member services immediately to report the card. Give them the date and time you last used it so any changes made since that time can be revoked. The existing card will be canceled and a new one issued to you.
How can I cancel my Marriott credit card?
If you no longer wish to use your credit card, contact member services and request that your account is closed. Note that your account cannot be closed unless there is no longer any debt on the account.
Can someone co-sign for a Marriott credit card?
Chase does not allow for co-signers on their credit cards, so you will not be able to have someone co-sign for the Marriott card.
Can I use my card overseas/abroad? If yes, what are the related fees?
Yes, your card can be used overseas. One of the benefits of the Marriott card is the lack of foreign transaction fees.
Will my card be closed if I do not use it over time?
If you do not use your card at least once every 24 months, you will lose your reward points. However, unless you close down the account or violate the terms of your contract, the card should not be closed.
Is there a cash back offer on my card?
No. The Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card awards point with every purchase, not cash back. These points can be redeemed toward hotel stays and frequent flyer miles, but not cash.
What is the expiry period on my points?
As long as the card is used at least once every 24 months, the points will never expire.
What does a category 1-5 hotel mean and how is it determined which category hotel will I get my free night at?
The hotel categories can be thought of as the star rating for the hotel; however, a category one hotel is not a one-star hotel. It just means it is the lowest in terms of amenities and conveniences in the overall ranking. The free night awarded to cardholders annually can be redeemed at a category one to five hotel. The category you get your free night at is your choice; the range allows more choice to cardholders.
Can I avail the free night stay at any time during the year?
Yes, under most circumstances. There are no blackout dates on rewards with the Marriott card.
Are there any specific airlines that I will get reward points for?
You can redeem your reward points for miles through a host of different airlines. For a full list, consult the Marriott Travel Rewards page.
What is an Elite Status and what can I do to achieve it?
Elite status is one of three tiers of membership for Marriott Rewards members. All members will receive 15 Elite credits each year, which automatically places them in the Silver Elite status. To achieve Gold or Platinum Elite, you will need to stay 50 and 75 nights, respectively.
What can my 80,000 points get me?
80,000 points can get you 10 free nights at a category one hotel, or several tens of thousands of frequent flyer miles.
How many Elite points will get me a Platinum card?
You need 75 points to attain Platinum Elite status.
Will authorized card members also receive a free stay at the hotel for their annual card-anniversary?
One free night will be awarded on the anniversary of the account opening per card, not per user.
How many points will I get for adding an authorized user?
If you add an authorized user and make a purchase within three months of the account opening, you will receive an additional 7,500 bonus points.
Our verdict – is there something better?
The Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card is an excellent choice for a frequent traveler that has a particular penchant for Marriott hotels. Because the card can only be redeemed for nights at the Marriott or frequent flyer miles, its functionality is limited. If your company puts you up in the Marriott (and redeems you for the money spent), then it can be a great way to earn rewards with little effort. However, outside of this, there are likely better options. For example, the Capital One Venture Card yields miles that can be redeemed for rental cars and other services. The Barclay Arrival World Elite yields a massive amount of miles per dollar spent. For an all-around travel card, these two would be better options.
If you're strictly looking for a card that will help you earn free hotel stays, however, then it's hard to go wrong with the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card.